As associations plan their annual meetings, we thought we would share a few tips and reminders with everyone.
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The annual meeting is a member meeting, hence every member can participate. Participation is by properly made motions, seconds, taking part in discussion of motions and through voting.
The first order of business is to appoint the chairperson to run the meeting. The chairperson can be anyone that the members agree should chair the meeting. In many associations the board president chairs the meeting; however this requires approval of the members. Some associations ask their manager or attorney to chair the meeting which is acceptable as long as this is approved by the membership. In large associations having a professional chair the meeting can help to keep it on track and see that the required business gets done properly.
A motion can be made by any member of the association as to who shall chair the meeting. This motion must be seconded and then voted on by the members present. If the motion is approved by a majority of the member’s present, the chairperson is elected for the meeting.
The Second order of business is to determine whether a quorum of the members is present in person or by proxy. The quorum requirement is spelled out in the association documents or by state statute. Without a quorum no business can take place at the meeting. However, ballots must still be collected.
The third order of business is to appoint the election monitors. Election monitors will supervise and participate in the counting of the ballots cast. Election monitors may not be candidates for the board or members of a candidates’ family.
The fourth order of business is to collect the ballots. All ballots received by mail prior to the election and brought to the meeting should be delivered to the election monitors and placed in the ballot box.
Ballots must be collected, all ballots must be in properly cast (enclosed in an outside envelope which shows the unit number, name of voting member and signature and then enclosed in an inner envelope which should not provide any identity information).
Note ballots cannot be accepted once the counting process begins. So it is important to make an announcement that all ballots must be cast before the counting can begin and to not accept any additional ballots once the counting process has begun.
Ballots are then verified to the association ownership records and voting certificates. Units with more than one owner, units owned by a trust or units owned by a corporation must have a voting certificate on file that shows who is authorized to vote for the unit.
For the election to be valid and counting to continue at least 20% of the eligible unit owners must of cast a ballot.
Next the outside envelopes are opened and separated from the ballots which are still sealed in the inner envelope. Once all outside envelopes are opened the ballots are returned to the ballot box and mixed before opening the inside envelope. Ballots are then opened and counted.
At the conclusion of the ballot count the results are announced and the ballots, counts, outer and inner envelopes must be saved as part of the association’s official records for a period of 3 years.
The fifth order of business (if a quorum is present) is the reading and approval or waiver or reading and approval of last year’s meeting minutes.
The sixth order of business is to conduct the remaining business of the association including; the reading or presentation of any officer and or committee reports; old business from last year; new business for this year; owner comments and questions.
Last thing to do is to adjourn the meeting the chairperson can ask for a motion to adjourn the meeting which must be seconded and voted on by the members.
It should be noted that in most associations, newly elected board members begin their term immediately once the vote has been concluded.
It is also advisable to schedule an organizational board meeting to immediately follow the annual meeting in this way officers can be appointed and take their positions without a lapse in leadership.